U.S. Virgin Islands

Even if you never took an astronomy class in college, you can still appreciate looking up at the night sky and seeing an infinite number of twinkling stars. Stargazing is often associated with camping or the viewing of once-every-few-months meteor showers, but — with so many stars in the sky — it can really be done whenever…the where is more important. Secluded areas away from the bright lights of the city are best for admiring the flickering sky and searching for constellations, and some hotels in these secluded spots are best suited for stargazing as well. Whether they have their own telescopes on hand or offer stargazing sessions with an astronomer, these 12 hotels provide perfect settings for an evening enjoying the view above.

Westward Look Resort, Tucson

Westward Look Resort

This renovated guest ranch is Tucson’s oldest resort and one of its most popular. Outdoor activities abound at the upscale property, which offers three saline pools, horseback riding and hiking trails, volleyball, basketball, and eight tennis courts. Big rooms and two highly regarded restaurants at Westward Look Resort overlook the serene mountains and city lights. Nature is everywhere at this property with the various gardens, including a butterfly and hummingbird garden. Another highlight is the telescope on hand, perfect for guests to view the desert night sky. If that’s not enough, travelers can drive about an hour and a half to the Kitt Peak National Observatory; it’s home to the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes and hosts nightly observing programs.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

There’s something so cozy about watching a movie, both solo and with a crew. If you don’t want to hole up in your room with pay-per-view while on vacation, there are many hotels where you can still catch a flick without leaving the property. Some hotels offer movie nights for their guests – whether it’s curled up on a comfy couch indoors or outside lounging by the pool — giving vacationers a chance to unwind in front of a big screen. Many are geared toward little ones so that parents can enjoy some alone time, while others are a chance for travelers to meet and participate in activities together. No matter if you’re away on business or having a family vacation, grab some popcorn, sit back, relax, and watch the show. We definitely give the following 10 hotels two thumbs up!

Bitter End Yacht Club, British Virgin Islands

Bitter End Yacht Club

The Bitter End Yacht Club, snuggled into a steep hill on the scenic North Sound, is a relaxed, family-friendly resort. The tech-free rooms (no TVs or Wi-Fi here) feature stunning views from the balconies, and the sliding doors allows breezes to sweep through; some rooms do not have air-conditioning but most guests find they don’t miss it. While some rooms could use renovations, guests are here for the white-sand beaches that offer plenty of water sports and relatively calm waters. Although popular among couples, the hotel also caters toward families; each night two movies are screened at The Sand Palace, next to the lobby. The movies are all rated G, PG, or PG-13 and popcorn is provided. Adults may want to send their kids to watch the movie while they enjoy a meal at the Clubhouse Grille next door.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Once we got that hint of sunny weather earlier this week, it became official: we’ve got the beach bug. Nothing ushers in warmer temperatures (at least in our minds) like frolicking in the sand, and a trip to the shore can be the perfect way to get the family together. We’ve told you about the best beaches for diving, surfing, and even going topless, so this time around we’re giving you the low-down on the best beaches for families; if you have babies in tow or water-winged toddlers, these seven U.S. beaches are our top picks for a family-friendly visit.

La Jolla Cove, San Diego

La Jolla

An upscale seaside sanctuary, La Jolla attracts families with its pristine downtown area, quiet neighborhoods, and stunning natural surroundings. While the town boasts plenty of surfer-friendly beaches, La Jolla Cove is ideal for tourists traveling with little ones; this small cove of clear water is part of the La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, and swimmers and divers have free range (surfing is not allowed). Lifeguards patrol the calm surf year-round, and the beach boasts clean public restrooms and showers, as well as designated picnic spots.

Where to Stay: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

If you and your honey have VIP taste when you travel, you’ll be in good company at these romantic resorts. All of them have made headlines for hosting celebrity couples, from Brad and Angie at Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S Virgin Islands to, most recently, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer and his girlfriend at Half Moon in Jamaica (where he either did or did not suck her toes in a hot tub, depending on whether you believe the New York Post). So what makes these resorts special enough for the likes of Hollywood royalty (and in some cases, royalty royalty)? We’ll give you the inside scoop.

Half Moon, Jamaica

Half Moon, JamaicaWhen Eliot Spitzer and girlfriend Lis Smith vacationed together at Half Moon, Jamaica in early January, they made headlines for some racy hot tub behavior (specifically, Spitzer was reported to have sucked on Smith’s toes). The report turned out to be unreliable, but we imagine the pair had a lovely time at Half Moon even without the toe-sucking. The 400-acre resort has two miles of pristine beach, a dolphin lagoon, horse stables, and a spectacular spa; it’s fit not only for American political royalty (JFK and Jackie stayed here long before Spitzer) but actual royalty (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and The Prince of Wales have also visited). Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Mixing business with pleasure? Trying to trade your business suit for a bathing suit? As much as we love getting away from the office, it’s sometimes hard to think about all the work piling up back at our desks. (Emphasis on sometimes.) So for those instances when we need to check our emails or send out those TPS reports while getting some R&R, these gorgeous tropical retreats have us covered, and with more than just a phone jack. Whether they feature ample meeting spaces, dedicated business staff, or any number of other great work offerings, these properties are sure to please any productive vacationers, so you’ll have just the right mix of business with pleasure. Enjoy your bizcation!

Work and Play At: Porto Bay Rio Inernacional Hotel, Rio de Janiero

We'd trade in our desks for this setup any day

Rio is both a beautiful beach getaway and a mountain-lined urban hub, so it’s no wonder that many of the city’s hotels try to appeal to both business and leisure guests simultaneously. The Porto Bay Rio Internacional Hotel is one of these hotels. Located directly across from the Copacabana beach and offering a stocked, 24-hour business center, the property also boasts some pretty incredible ocean views from the fitness center, meeting rooms, and restaurants, so you never really have to tear yourself away from the beach to get Johnson those TPS reports.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Before they can even think about taking up residence at the White House (or, in Barack’s case, renewing any magazine subscriptions), presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have to earn the comfy D.C. digs. Election season is heating up and the two have been on the campaign trail for months, spending night after night on the road in hotels across the country. And though their campaign accommodations may pale in comparison to one of the most famous addresses in the world, neither contender is losing any sleep at these luxe hotels that line the road to the White House.

The White House is up for grabs, and Romney and Obama are on on the road to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Photo Credit: Nicolas Briquet/ABACA/startraksphoto.com

Photo Credit: Nicolas Briquet/ABACA/startraksphoto.com

OH MY GOD, we never thought it would happen! After all, Brad has pledged numerous times that he and Angelina would not marry until all Americans could legally tie the knot. But sometimes, love just can’t wait. So its official –the couple is engaged and Brangelina will become Mr. and Mrs. Smith, er, Pitt, presumably sometime this summer.  For the past seven years, they’ve been a Hollywood dream couple that we just knew would stay together forever. [Ed. note: Before them, it was Brad and Jen, but that's neither here nor there...] And whenever there’s a momentous occasion in Hollywood such as this, we like to take a look back at the moments that made it all happen…and of course, the hotels where all of those moments went down. Check out the hotels that led Brad and Angelina to the altar — or at least to their engagement — after the jump!

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Money Being Cut

Find out which hotels slash your savings! (Credit: iStock)

Guess what? Taxes are due. Today. And do we have any idea where our money goes? Nope! In a similar vein, some of the most luxurious (and not so luxe) spots charge outrageous fees, additional ones that are tacked onto your original rate. And while we already scoped out three amazing island retreats that are fee-free, we wanted to also let you in on a few hotels that charge up the you-know-what. So before you settle on staying in one of these hotels, learn where your money is really going.

Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Some crave steep snowy peaks. Others bask in a bustling metropolis. And some want a labyrinth of reefs, streaked in bright blues, yellows, and reds, swarming with bizarrely beautiful undersea creatures. For those aqua-oriented souls, we’ve compiled a list of Oyster’s top scuba diving destinations (note: more to come in the near future!).

Costa Rica

Don’t let Costa Rica’s small size fool you. It’s packed with spectacular marine life and an abundance of diving spots. Its beaches boast some of the sea’s most colorful creatures, both big and small. With cooler, nutrient-rich waters, divers often see dolphins, whale sharks, and humpback whales. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, Cocos Island, an uninhabited island more than 300 miles off the coast, is one of the world’s most-treasured diving spots, with oodles of Hammerhead, ray, and dolphin sightings. It’s normal to see dozens or even hundreds of these animals on every dive. If you’re traveling between December and mid-April, make sure to pack some exposure protection, as water temps have been known to dip relatively low.

Playa Virador at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Where to stay:

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa

Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

 

Read More »

{ 2 comments }

It can be hard for high-powered, hooked-up 21st century worker bees to truly relax on their vacations. But a vacation is no time to be checking your Blackberry on the beach. Whether you have trouble letting go of your of your tech-powered world, or are itching to escape it, these unplugged getaways help you recharge your batteries — no batteries required.

Tensing Pen, Jamaica

Tensing Pen, Jamaica

Tensing Pen, Jamaica

Opened in the ’70s as a tiny hippie hangout, this modest-size property has since grown into one of Negril’s top-rated resorts. The 17 cottages, restaurant, bar, pool, and small yoga studio and spa hut are built into the cliffs of Negril’s West End. The hotel adheres to an ethos of simple, back-to-nature living — there are no TVs, phones, or radios in the rooms, so that guests can focus on the rugged natural beauty and breathtaking views. Read More »

{ 1 comment }